(A clue for you...at the end of this post is a surprise...well, it is to me, at least, that I'm even saying it...).
First off, I normally don't do middle grade (or younger) reviews, but I saw this book a while back and thought it was so cute/creative that I had to buy it for my brother (who writes MG). And beg him to let me borrow it after he read it first. Isn't the title enough to make you want to read this book? How great is that? And the author never leaves character, even with her name. (I say 'her' because I'm guessing it's a her by the writing style)
Now, the book starts off with cleverness and ends with cleverness, but I was actually surprised that after the first chapter and a half it slowed down for me. It took me a really long time to get into this book. Partly because I'm used to reading YA, partly because I was reading three other books at the same time (not a good idea for me, I've decided), but also in part because I had very high expectations starting into it. That's not to say the author didn't hold up her end of the bargain (gee, I hope it was a woman who wrote this book, or I'm gonna feel awefully funny when said author knocks at my door some day and sets me right. But the chances of that are a snowballs chance in, well, shall we say...that one place =).
But by the quarter way mark, this book got really intriguing. And I don't want to give any spoilers here, but this book isn't at all what I thought. Not that you can guess from the title. But there are clues and mysteries, yes, but hidden identities and things I would never have thought of putting in a book. A house with secret rooms (you always get me with the secret passageways. Very cool.) Smells. That's all I will say.
No the book didn't stink. Anything but. By the end you are definitely hooked and ready for the next in the series, which I have yet to read. (I'm waiting on my brother to buy that one =) Hint Hint, Mark). This book has everything a young person could want in a mystery. Things to solve, people to figure out, clues to find. Even a CHAPTER to write all your own. Yes, folks, write your own ending. With. Blank pages. Lined, blank pages. It's awesome. Cute. Loveable. The characters are beleivable and the narative is humorous. The pacing is great and well worth your time. Trust me. GREAT voice. And I love that the main characters aren't 'cute'. They have definite awkward growing years ahead of them. It's the bad guys who are very good looking. Which is always something to look out for. You know those good looking people, wearing gloves. They can't be trusted. At least not after you read this book.
So, if you love MG, or even if you don't normally read it, this book is worth your time and money.
PS. As a promise to my lovely world of readers, writers, bloggers, whomever. I promise that if I get up to three hundred followers, yes 3 0 0 FOLLOWERS, I will have a stupendous giveaway. Give me ideas of what you would like to see up for grabs. I kind of want to do something that hasn't been done, but if you have a favorite book or something bookish, let me know and I will keep it in mind for y'all.